ORIGIN AND GROWTH
The time is worth to know the foot prints, people, ups and downs, 'pros & cons' of our beloved institution " THE TOTGARS' CO-OPERATIVE SALE SOCIETY LIMITED, SIRSI (U.K) " (called as "TSS" here after) is just few steps ahead to celebrate its centenary as it has completed 95 years of service successfully, satisfactorily and effectively (1923 - 2018).
This institution like Rockdale Pioneers of England has been built up by the then co-operators, Motensar Hegde, Vishwamitra family and other stalwarts in the beginning and by Kadave Hegde and family in its later stages by sacrificing their lives for the benefit of Totgars.
We know that necessity is the mother of all inventions and collective efforts are way to success. In the beginning of 19th century when people confronted with severe problems to maintain their day to day life, they thought, to overcome such problems joining hands is the only way. On 'mutual help is self help' basis co-operation was started in its crude sense and caused economic development. Centuries passed away to give a concrete form to this co-operation.
The Co-operative Societies Act 1904 enabled the establishment of co-operative societies, rural and urban and allowed sufficient opportunity for experimentation. Eight years of experimentation suggested the need of widening the scope of co-operation from credit to non-credit co-operatives too. The Co-operative Societies Act 1912 was passed for setting up non credit Co-operatives in the field of marketing and supply of domestic items and agricultural requisites.
Sirsi had joined the mainstream of this movement as early in 1905. The credit co-operative societies were commenced at Sirsi in 1905 with the aim of rescuing agriculturists from the clutches of local money lenders. During those days financing the farmers for the purpose of production of Areca nut, Pepper and Cardamom and marketing of these cash crops were under the control of private money lenders, land lords and commission agents. Regulated markets to control agriculture produce are unfounded as established now a days. Small and tiny land holders were exploited much. They fail to get better price and actual weight. They need to pay higher price for consumables and other essential commodities. Neither producer nor consumer could get better incentives for their efforts and honesty. In order to eradicate such a problem, the ambition and enthusiasm of local leaders and honorary organizers of co-operatives of that time led to the start up of co- operatives. As a result "SIRSI TOTGARS' CO-OPERATIVE PURCHASE DISTRIBUTIVE AND CREDIT SOCIETY LTD" was established at Sirsi and it commenced its activities from 12-11-1913. The objectives of the society were to finance the members and supply them with agriculture requisites.
A visiting Registrar of Co-operatives, Mr. R.B. Ewbank, who inspected the Society on 27-04-1918 was compelled to caution the management that if the society wish to continue it should devote itself more seriously and exclusively to the organization of the production and disposal of betel nut, cardamom and pepper and suggested loans should only be given to purposes directly connected with production and sale of crops and not for old debts and domestic expenses. He recommended following :
1. Loans of one year duration.
2. Produce to be weighed immediately on arrival.
3. Society to charge a commission less than dalals (private commission agents).
4. Loan holders to sell their entire crops through society only.
5. Pledge loans not to exceed 2/3 of the estimated value.
6. To own go- downs.
But, after 10 years of its operation, the society collected a meager share capital of Rs.3700/- and a reserve fund of Rs.2500/-, with this limited fund, it failed to attract growers of jurisdiction and to do sizeable business and to carry on both activities of providing loan to farmers and marketing their produce due to following reasons.
1. Lack of adequate funds to advance producers.
2. Loan holders and members selling their produces outside the society.
3. Non involvement of rural credit co-operative societies in selling process.
4. Management members trade activities.
5. Stiff competition from private traders.
There was further a technical difficulty of classifying society as it was doing both credit and sale business. It was Mr. Otto Rothfield, the then Registrar of Co-operative Societies, Bombay, to give the final verdict. After a visit to society in December 1922 and discussing the problems with the chairman and management he suggested the society should be divided into two : one as 'credit society' and another as 'sale society'. The credit society is to continue on present line with limited liability and its byelaws pertaining to sale are to be removed. Similarly a new sale society is to be organized with the sale society byelaws was concluded.
As a result society was divided into Credit society and Marketing society in the year 1922. Thus, a new society was emerged on 21-9-1923 registered as "The Totgars' Co-operative sale society ltd Sirsi", and was duly accepted by the General Body Meeting held on 15-11-1923 and commenced functions from 24-11-1923 with only 28 members contributing Rs 10/- each ( Rs 280/-) as initial share capital. The first office of the society was at Nadigagalli in Sirsi.
In the first decade 1923-1933 the membership increased slowly from a mere 28 individual members to 172 individuals and 18 societies. Credit societies were slow in affiliating to the sale society by changing their byelaws.
A branch was opened at Siddapur taluque in June 1947 and a branch was opened at Yellapur taluque in 1955. Society started a medical stores on 8-10-1962. During the tenure of Shri Shripad R Hegde Kadave office was shifted from Nadigagalli to the specious Namazgudda were new market yard was made ready specially for agriculture commodity dealings. Our present new building in 4 acre premises was inaugurated by Shri Sarvajnendra Saraswati Swamiji of Swarnavalli Math, Sonda by his holiness on 17-06-1964 and was presided by Shri Ramakrishna Hegde Dodmane, the then Minister for Co-operation.
The petrol bunk of Indian oil corporation was inaugurated on 21-12-1964 and the Rice Mill on 09-05-1965. The North Kanara District Printing Co-operative society opened its branch at sirsi at the request of Totgars' co-operative sale society to meet printing needs of society and its subsidiaries. A soil testing laboratory was established in the market yard premises by K.D.C.C Bank with active collaboration of the society. The linking of credit with marketing covered 33 primary co-operative societies and had became the mainstay of co-operative movement in the area. Eight new go- downs were constructed besides the office. The training of the different cadres of the staff were continued. From 1963 onwards the society started outright purchase on large scale to have effective control over market.
Due to the efforts of some eminent co-operators of South Kanara, North Kanara, Shimoga districts of Karnataka and Kerala State, The Central Areca nut Marketing and Processing Co-operative Limited (CAMPCO), was established with head quarter at Mangalore. This was registered in July 1973 under the Multiple Co-operatives Societies Act 1942 with an area of operation spread over Kerala and Karnataka. The Totgars' Sale Society became a founder member and started purchase as an agent of CAMPCO and stabilized market. This effort had led to the revival of areca market and provided a great relief to the growers as Rashi variety areca valued Rs 702/- p.q in October 1970, Rs 717/- p.q in October 1971 and Rs 340/- p.q in October 1972 consecutively.
The society celebrated its Golden Jubilee moments in the year 1977 gloriously as it completes 50 years of service in 1973. (1923-1973). Samrat Guest House was bought in the interest of farmers on 17-5-1985 for an amount around Rs 25,00,000/- .
After the sad demise of Shri S.R.Hegde Kadave in the middle of 1995, his son-in-law Shri Shanataram.V.Hegde Shigehalli, who took his charge actively and followed the same path and turned many of his vision into reality in the due course. As a result, a multi speciality hospital was opened in the year 2007 named " Shripad Hegde Kadave Institute of medical sciences" with a capital outlay of Rs 10 crores. It is a mile stone in co-operative sector. The society commenced its scented sweet supari unit in the year 2009. A branch at Mundgod taluk was opened on 4-11-2014 and Super market in Sirsi was shifted to new well versed building in December 2016.
Shri D.D.Vishwamitra, Onigadde, who served as the chairman of the society also contributed much for the overall development of the institution during his tenure. The brave leadership of Shri Shantaram.V.Hegde has added many feathers to the crown of TSS. Shri Santaram.V.Hegde Shigehalli is rendering his valuable service as chairman since 20 years. He was awarded with “Sahakari Ratna” on 10-11-2004 by Shri T.N.Chaturvedi, the then Governor of Karnataka for his excellent service in the field of co-operation and was honored with "Shresta Sahakari" title by Karnataka Rajya Sahakara Mahamandala in the year 2012. Further, He was also awarded with "International Co-operative Swarnashree" prize at New Dehli in the year 2012 and Shri. K.H.Patil's "Rashtriya Grameenabhivrudhi Cash Prize" of Rs 500000/- by H.K.Patil, the then minister for Grameenabhivruddhi in 2017 at Gadag for his contribution through co-operative endeavor.